How John Berger Changed Our Way Of Seeing Art?

The work opens with ‘’Seeing comes before words, the child looks and recognizes before he or she can speak’’. With this statement, John Berger addresses what he believes to be vital to the understanding of the world humans inhabit. Any child can examine his or her surroundings and from this perspective is born. ‘’But there is also another sense in which seeing comes before words. It is seeing which establishes our place in the surrounding world; we explain that world with words, but words can never change the fact that we are surrounded by it.

The relation between what we see and what we know is never settled. Each evening we see the sunset. We know that the earth is turning away from it. Yet the knowledge, the explanation, never quite fits the sight.’’ Says John Berger. He believes images are a language in which they could define people’s experiences more accurately where words cannot. Instead of images just being reproductions, they can reveal our experiences; past and present.

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Berger is a strong believer in the saying “a picture is worth a thousand words” but he feels today’s society doesn’t live up to this expression’s standards.

According to John Berger, the image is a remanufactured appearance, and there is a vision in every image. However, our perception or evaluation of an image also depends on our ways of seeing. Mankind has seen ever since he opened his eyes to the world and interprets what he sees. However, this interpretation varies in terms of the development and thoughts of man.

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John Berger discusses and compares many things in his work, ways of seeing. If I had to exemplify from some of them, I would say ‘’seeing’’ and ‘’looking’’. Actually John Berger’s principles lead these two things to emerge.

“One of the aims of this essay has been to show that what is really at stake is much larger. A people or a class which is cut off from its own past is far less free to choose and to act as a people or class than one that has been able to situate itself in history.” Says Berger. He discusses that a proper interpretation of any image must contain a clear understanding of one’s own historical and social position. People must use their own lived experience. Berger asserts that we are limited in what we choose to see because we don’t look at only one thing to understand it in its entirety.

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How John Berger Changed Our Way Of Seeing Art?. (2020, Sep 02). Retrieved from

How John Berger Changed Our Way Of Seeing Art?

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